(WARNING: If you are a sensitive soul, OR if you are experiencing PMS right now, please just skip this post. Take my word for it--you just might be offended with the tongue-in-cheek discussion below.)
Cue the homeschool band...cause I am off to The Denim Jumper Convention this weekend! You don't know what that is? Ohhh, I mean the Homeschool Convention. Silly me.
Now, brace yourselves, gentle readers, because I just might offend some of you. But, like our pastor frequently says--I hope to offend everyone equally. Nerdy homeschoolers, and worldly public schoolers alike. It's equal opportunity here.
I really am heading to a homeschool convention. And I really do call it the Denim Jumper Convention (to myself)--because that just makes me laugh. It actually surprised me the first year, because although there were a couple of denim jumper wearers, mostly there were cute moms just like me. Wait a minute--I said that wrong...I just mean that most of the moms looked a lot like me--moms who try to dress as hip and cute as Old Navy and The Gap will allow on a budget, and in the occasional 15-minute shopping spree.
So, what side of the argument are you on?
Do you think homeschoolers are kind of nerdy, have lots of kids...so many that they have to buy a full-size van...make their own granola, laundry soap, and baby wipes...only watch occasional television shows (and never reality smut!) on Hulu...dress their kids in semi-matching clothes...spend their vacations creating dioramas or lapbooks of educational places they've visited like Mt. Rushmore and the nearest Civil War reenactments...
Do you throw your kids to the wolves every day?...Sending them off with a Pop tart on the school bus with a quick, "Hurry along now!"...With their High School Musical lunch boxes filled with Cheetos and Little Debbies...Having to remind them daily not to repeat those words learned on the playground...and likewise, not to repeat those words Daddy says when he stubs his toe...Or Mommy, when her blog post disappears before hitting "Publish"...Feeling like a rockstar parent, as you take over the latest history project, creating a life-size clay model of Charles Darwin...
Everybody offended yet?
Because, honestly? I find those stereotypes hilarious! Mostly, because I see myself in BOTH stereotypes...in more ways than I care to admit, thank you very much.
We are in our 5th year of homeschooling, and that alone shocks me more than anyone else! I guess I'm not your typical homeschool mom. (But, since there ARE NO typical homeschool moms--we're all in it for different reasons, different seasons...I guess that means I AM typical...You all lost in my crazy line of thinking yet?)
I joined the wide wide world of homeschooling pretty much kicking and screaming. Not always literally, but sometimes. My husband and I both were college-trained to be teachers...public school teachers. Both of our families have been public school teachers and administrators. We both are products of public schools. We live in a town with an amazing public school system. And our plan is to teach our daughters in the beginning, and have them join the public school sometime mid-way.
Yet, here we sit at our dining room table. Working through the Abeka math book and the Sonlight readers. Most days, I have grown to LOVE teaching my daughters. Seeing their eyes light up when they finally "get it." Or seeing their pretty handwriting on something, and thinking to myself, "I did that." Other days, I want to run out to the yellow bus driving by, screaming, "WAAAAIT!!! I'VE GOT ONE MORE FOR YOU!!!!"
I have always loved chatting with people and hearing "their stories." Hearing fellow homeschoolers' stories has been especially encouraging to me in this journey. Every mom I meet has a different reason for homeschooling, and a different long-term plan. The one thing that is the same for all of them is this: They love their kids, and are always questioning if they are on the right path, choosing the right curriculum, selecting the right extra-curricular activities.
And guess what?
My public school mom friends are the SAME way: They love their kids, and are always questioning if they are on the right path, in the right class with the right teacher, and selecting the right extra-curricular activities.
I figure since we're all on the same questioning path--feeling our way along, as we do our best to raise these chilluns--we might as well laugh along the way, right?
Which is why I call it The Denim Jumper Convention. (See, I brought it full-circle. Kind-of proud of myself, I am)
Tomorrow, as I am wandering around the convention hall, I will giggle to myself a few times when I do see an actual denim jumper--double points if it is appliqued. And I will also say, "Dang! I feel like such a goober" when I see the moms in the Seven jeans and Coach shoes and handbags.
Anyone want to join me tomorrow? Since, technically I am going alone, I would love to take you along...in the form of Twitter. Yes, that's right--I have entered the 21st century and signed myself up for Twitter. I have absolutely no idea what I am doing...but I want to try it.
(Because I "write" these little updates in my head all the time anyway...I figure it might be healthier to Twitter them. That way I'm not having little imaginary conversations inside my head, I can have them WITH YOU. At least that's what my therapist tells me.)
So, tomorrow during The Denim Jumper Convention, I will send little Twitter updates...little things that make me giggle, along with really great thought-provoking tidbits. Because--all joking aside--these homeschooling conventions provide lifesaving - timesaving -sanitysaving practical advice for ANY parent, homeschooling or not.
Now that everyone is all good and offended, maybe I should leave you with a little giggle. If you are the only person on the planet who has not watched comedian Tim Hawkins sing about homeschoolers, then PLEASE WATCH...and GIGGLE...You're Welcome.